Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Last week I finished reading “A Distant Melody” by Sarah Sundin. “A Distant Melody” is one of the BEST novels I have ever read, and definitely one of the best and most detailed WWII novels I have ever read.

Miss Sundin’s characters draw you in — they are detailed and personal. It was as if I knew Allie and Walt and their friends, as if I was present at their parties and family dinners. When something rocked their world I felt it too, and when there was joy, I’d find myself smiling.

I’m not going to try and summarize the plot because I might give something away. You can read a synopsis here. But in addition to being a wonderful read, “A Distant Melody” is full of historical and accurate details. Miss Sundin covers everything: rationing, fashion, travel, music, scrap drives, and so much more. You’re sure to learn many things about the era. Did you know that pennies were made out of steel to conserve copper for wartime use? I found that out when Allie tried to pay with a penny instead of a dime. Should I even go into how she describes a B-17? You will feel like you’re there.

I’m probably rambling, but this book was SO GOOD. I’m very picky about books, especially one’s that take place during WWII. They can be overly dramatized or happy-go-lucky to the point of pure cheesiness, or they can be a slow, boring read without much detail or humor to lighten the weight of a war story. “A Distant Melody” had the perfect balance of everything. Please pick up a copy — you won’t be sorry!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Retro-inspired Finds

Saturday I went out shopping with my friend, Sara. We went to the Michael's craft store where I found these delightful things that have retro style — and all of them cost $1.00 each:

Aren't these sassy recipe cards fun?? There were about five other styles, each with a retro/pin-up gal. You can also buy matching recipe boxes, reusable shopping bags, and aprons.

Mary Engelbreit designed these charming notecards, journal, and notepad. The cherries and the polka dots are so classic, yet they are fun and playful.

I bought this little Coke at Target. It's quite tiny (8 oz.). I couldn't resist the classic glass bottle and petite size!

Inside Stuff — Cal York's Gossip of Hollywood (Part 5)

Inside Stuff

Cal York’s Gossip of Hollywood

Cal Observes: Bunny Waters is about a foot taller than her orchestra-leader husband Johnny Green.

Olivia de Havilland wears her hair the plainest of any girl in town — parted in the middle and drawn back with a wave or curl and held down with a velvet band. She looks beautiful.

The friendship between photographer Paul Hesse and Joan Fontaine has progressed to the point where Joan now accompanies him on his photographic assignments. Next thing she’ll be setting up the camera.

Orson Welles always seeks out Chester Morris at Romanoff’s or private parties to talk magic, Chester being the better performer of the two.

The Voice Accused: It was bound to happen, for even a nice guy like Frank Sinatra can get in a huff and a jam in Hollywood. Seems it all happened when Frank snubbed certain radio and newspaper columnists on the set of “Anchors Aweigh” by saying, “If you want to speak to me, get in touch with my agent.”

Now Frankie claims he had plenty of provocation and we believe him. Seems he had done a couple of favors for the writer and radio commentator, who later took a few verbal pokes at The Voice, which made Frankie sore.

Anyway after a blast on the air and in his column about Frankie’s growing bigheaded, the entire cast and crew down to the last carpenter, electrician, and prop boy — headed by such names as Kathryn Grayson, Gene Kelly and Rags Ragland — drew up a statement, had it typed and pasted on Frank’s dressing-room door.

Cal took a peek at it a few minutes after it had gone up and here’s what it says as nearly as we can remember:

“We, the undersigned and those who know him well, know Frank’s head size is normal and his hat will continue to fit.”

Then come all those names which is a swell testimonial for The Voice and a pretty good indication of how good friends in Hollywood rally round a guy they feel is unjustifiably wronged.

Swing Around Town: People are chuckling over the power of Hedy Lamarr’s beauty. Emerging from a night club recently, Hedy came upon two customers fighting it out on the sidewalk. “Break it up,” commanded Hedy and, after taking one look at the lovely one, they did . . . After that quarrel (and you shouldn’t ask us what quarrel) Pat Dane followed her husband Tommy Dorsey to the West Coast and so far all seems well. Understand Pat wants another go at movies . . .

Fans of Gene Krupa seem delighted that the famous drummer is going to have his own band again. How that boy can chop sticks . . .

Steve Crane, whose troubles with Lana Turner have made headlines, is somewhat consoled by that very good role he gets in Rita Hayworth’s new picture “Tonight And Every Night!” . . .

Ray Milland’s conversation completely nautical since he bought that fifty-six-foot yawl. Buying a boat is merely another milestone in every actor’s career. The next step is usually the yen to produce pictures `a la Bing Crosby, Jimmy Cagney, Gary Cooper, Charles Boyer, Don Ameche, Mary Pickford . . .

What do you think of John Wayne’s playing Will Rogers in a movie eulogizing the humorist? Hear tell he’s all signed up for it . . .

No two ways about it, that John Hodiak is the Clark Gable of 1945. Just to be seen with him is an event, according to the youngsters he beaus about . . .

And here’s something for you bobby sockers to boil about. Hear Warners are going to poke fun at your Frankie in a short “Swooner Crooner.” Going to stand for that, kids? . . .

It Can Happen Here: He was a lone soldier with a few hours’ time between trains. He’d never been to Hollywood before by from his pals he’d heard about the town’s famous Canteen and decided to pay it a visit. Believing the boy meant the picture “Hollywood Canteen” then in progress at Warner Brothers (the real Canteen is not opened until late afternoon) he was directed to the studio. A member of the publicity department who ran into the lad in an outer office heard his story and decided to play straight. Taking the boy through the labyrinth of hall and gates, he escorted him onto the sound stage where an exact duplicate of the Canteen had been built, and here he met Joan Crawford, Dane Clark, Bette Davis, John Garfield and so many others, all of whom exerted themselves to make him feel at home.

He left an hour later none the wiser.

So far as he was concerned he had attended the Hollywood Canteen and his heart was full of happiness.

In a way, you know, Hollywood can be an awfully kind place.

Inside the Gates: Andrea Leeds who has been off the screen being happy as Mrs. Bob Howard is coming back in “Lost Weekend.” We’d call it “Lost Four Years” only Andrea has apparently been so contented they couldn’t be lost. Confidentially, her Goldwyn contract has had time to expire, for which event she may have been waiting. That Sam really throws them!

The pretty blonde struggling with lines and situations with the amateur players at Bliss-Hayden theater caught the attention of a casting director who discovered, to his astonishment, the young lady learning to act the hard way was Jean Wallace, wife of Franchot Tone.

When eighty-four-year-old C. Aubrey Smith was notified he’d been knighted by King George VI, he puckered his brow and said, “Well I suppose I’ll have to drop that C. from my name now.” Congratulations, Sir Aubrey.

When Captain Bruce Cabot returned from overseas and landed in Hollywood he took one look around and remarked he didn’t think the present group of actors offered “too tough competition.” Maybe he didn’t take a good look at Gregory Peck, John Hodiak, Bill Eythe, Turhan Bey, Alexander Knox and several others.

It Happened In Hollywood: M-G-M is puzzled. Letters by the dozens have poured in to the studio protesting the fact Peter Lawford will be starred in “Flat-top.” Fans seem to think Peter will play the cartoon menace. Flat-top, the weary studio will have you know, is a place carrier.

Walter Winchell’s pretty daughter Wanda has changed her name to Tony Eden and has been signed to a Twentieth Century-Fox contract. What’s more, Daddy has to be a good sport and take her to Mocambo when he’s town.

Barbara Stanwyck’s adopted son Dion hates his name. Says the kids at school make sport of it. So Barbara now calls him by the name of his choice — Tony.

That little two-by-four art gallery opened by Vincent Price in Beverly Hills is the sensation of the town. The night Richard Whorf’s paintings were shown Cal glimpsed Spencer Tracy and that old maestro of art himself, Edward G. Robinson, prowling around.

Smart people are lunching at Romanoff’s and the swanky new LaRue, but at dinner time they all seem to rush to Romeo’s, a little Italian restaurant on Melrose Avenue. In one evening alone Cal glimpsed Al Jolson, artist John Dekker, Richard Arlen, Errol Flynn with his lovely Nora Eddington, Elia Kazan, the director of “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn,” Charles Russell, John Hodiak and John Garfield.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Findings and Musings

Well, this blog is a rather mish-mash of things. I'll get back to posting articles from the 1944 Photoplay magazine in the next post, but I had a few things I just wanted to share with you.

First, I am currently reading "A Distant Melody" by Sarah Sundin. It is one of the BEST WWII fiction books I have ever read and I cannot wait until I finish so I can post a review. That being said, I was reading it yesterday and came to the part in the story when sugar had just come into the grocery store. Allie bought what she could with her ration and used most of it to make
applesauce. Then I became inspired and decided to see if I had any applesauce making skills. It
turned out wonderfully — although I'm sure I would have used a good portion of my sugar
ration in that one batch! I used my Grandma's recipe and thought you might like to add it to you file:


1. Peel, core, remove seeds, and cut apples into quarters.
Place in kettle and add 1 cup water. Cook apples to mush. Stir often — can add water if needed.

2. Now, add sugar and cinnamon to taste.

3. On VERY LOW HEAT, reheat applesauce. Be careful not to scorch.

4. Have jars filled with hot water to keep heated.
5. Put apples in hot jars.

6. To seal — put rubber rings in hot water — will seal tighter.

Now, I didn't put my applesauce in jars as I didn't make a big batch. I used 5 medium apples. Also, after I cooked them "to mush", I used a potato masher to break up the large chunks of apple.

Second, me and my family took a day trip to Hanover, PA, on Wednesday. We stumbled across a little consignment shop called "Chestnut Consignments". Me and my mom LOVE thrifting, so we stopped in. I came out with this adorable clutch purse at the grand total of $3.50!

The strap on the back is what sold me. I remember seeing Ginger Roger's in a movie with a clutch that had a strap, and I had been hunting for one ever since!

Lastly, I've been digging around for WWII inspired goodies on etsy. Check out these fantastic invitations from April Ink! The telegram reply cards are just too cute!

These would definitely be my pick for wedding invitations! Now I just need the groom . . .

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Easter should be easy for me to write about, but it isn't. It's not hard either, I just want to express myself in words that make sense.

I am . . . . beyond thankful for the love of Jesus Christ. Humbled and broken that He would die for my sins. He didn't have to. He's God. But He wanted to! He wanted to lay down His life so I could be made right with God, so I could have a relationship with Him! I believe it to my core, yet it's still hard for me to wrap my brain around that. The One who hung the stars, who holds the universe in His hand wanted to communicate with Courtney. But that could only happen if I paid the price for sin, which is death. He loved me so much that He gave His Son in my place — so I could live.

Praise You, Jesus! Thank You for loving me, for coming after me, and for not giving up on me when I repeatedly sin against You. Jesus, I don't have the ability to put it all into words! You are so good! Thank You!

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